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Photo: CAL Athletics/ Al Sermeno
Arielle Ship did not have the usual path to finding her rookie team. After Seattle Reign FC selected her with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, she was traded to the Spirit just 11 days later. Her plans may have taken a detour to the other Washington, but now the former Cal Berkeley star is focused on where she can fit in with last year’s NWSL Championship finalists.
Ship’s NWSL journey began in January as the Westlake Village, California native was one of many players who attended the draft in Los Angeles in person. The day is one she will never forget.
“The atmosphere of the draft was unreal,” recalled Ship. “You could just feel the pure excitement of everyone in the room. It was so awesome to be surrounded by so many people who were just as excited as I am about the NWSL and all of the incredible opportunities this women’s professional league has to offer.”
All of the opportunities that are now coming Ship’s way are products of her hard work and persistence. She showed promise from the moment she stepped onto Cal Berkeley’s campus, playing the most minutes of any freshmen her first year. By her sophomore year, Ship had become a star of the team, scoring three game-winning goals.
The sweetest one came in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bears were playing San Diego State University, and the game had gone into double overtime. A teammate found her in the 18 yard box, and Ship scored the winning golden goal.
“That feeling of scoring the winning goal for your team to move onto the next round was one I will never forget,” said Ship. “Everyone dog-piled me, and I was just on top of the world.”
As she became a leader on the team, Ship continued to contribute heavily to the Bears, including two hat tricks her junior year when she was the Pac-12 leading goal scorer with 14 goals. During her senior year, she was again the team’s leading scorer with 11 goals. Her experience at Berkeley has set her up for the next step in the professional ranks.
“I feel like my university, the coaches, staff, and my teammates have all been incredible resources for me to continue to develop and get better,” said Ship. “Playing at Cal has been great preparation for me to continue to develop my game.”
Ship’s continuing development will now take her to the Washington D.C. area, a place where she can explore her growth both as a soccer player and as a person interested in history and society.
“My major in college was legal studies,” Ship noted. “I absolutely love the law, and I am truly looking forward to checking out all of the political aspects and rich history this amazing city has to offer.”
Most of all, Ship is looking forward to finding her role on the Spirit when she joins for the March preseason. The forward has plans to be a fierce force during matches and a supportive teammate during life.
“On the field, I hope to bring intensity, energy, and lots of goals,” she said. “Off the field, I hope I can be a friendly face and someone people can come to with anything.”
As Ship starts a new journey with a new team in a new city, she is looking forward to being part of the Spirit Family.
“I cannot wait to meet you all, and thank you for all your support!”
Rookie Four Fun Facts:
Favorite soccer player: “David Beckham. I met him once and almost fainted. His free-kicks back in the day were unreal. I have a major major crush on him… and we have the same birthday! May 2nd, you can’t tell me that’s not fate.”
Favorite non-soccer athlete: “Lindsey Vonn. I watched a documentary about her and she is just very inspiring. I found her mentality and drive incredible, and she is someone I look up to and strive to be like (athletically, not skiing wise).”
Nickname: “Ar, Ari, Elle, Ship, you can pretty much call me anything (as long as it’s nice!)”
If you could have lunch with any three people, who would they be? “My late grandpa (Martin Solomon- he passed away two years ago), David Beckham. Anne Frank.”
The Spirit’s preseason will start on March 18 against Penn State University, followed by the club’s first visit to play a game in the Commonwealth of Virginia March 25, then returning to the SoccerPlex for two more matches prior to their 5th NWSL season. Preseason tickets for three games are free, with tickets to the March 25 match $10. 2017 Season Tickets include all preseason games and are available now by calling 301-591-0927 or visiting our website.